Open category students, parents to hold protests against state’s move to promulgate ordinance on Maratha quotahttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/open-category-students-parents-to-hold-protests-against-states-move-to-promulgate-ordinance-on-maratha-quota-5734581/

Open category students, parents to hold protests against state’s move to promulgate ordinance on Maratha quota

Gaurav Lodha, who graduated from the Solapur Government Medical College and secured the 54th rank in the state list, said, “We have been protesting for a long time but not even a corporator meets us or supports us”.

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The politically influential Maratha community accounts for 33 per cent of the state’s population. (Photo: File/Representational)

Aspirants to post-graduate medical courses from the open category in Pune, Mumbai and other parts of the state have said they are “horrified” at the manner in which the state has “overlooked” their meritorious ranks and given the go-ahead to promulgate an ordinance to amend the Socially and Economically Backward Reservation (SEBC) Act , 2018, to provide reservation for Maratha quota students in postgraduate medical admissions.

Sudha Shenoy, a parent and the lead convenor of the ‘UG and PG Medical Students and Parents of #Murder of Merit team’ in Mumbai, said she and the other parents were planning a peaceful protest against the government on Saturday over the ordinance, which bypasses an order by the Supreme Court. “We have been fighting for two months for students in the open category,” she said and urged students and parents from across the state to join the stir on Saturday.

Explained: Why the new Maratha quota has angered some

“None of the political leaders pays heed to our grievances,” said Vedavati Jogi, another parent.

“The Chief Minister has assured us that he will protect the rights of the students under the Maratha quota and also ensure that open category students are not affected. We are also waiting for a copy of the ordinance but strongly oppose reservation over and above the mandatory 50 per cent,” said Shenoy.

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Another parent, Sheetal Navander, whose son has appeared for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test 2019 and is an aspirant for admissions to first-year MBBS courses, is now worried that the same SEBC quota will also be applicable to undergraduate medical admissions. “The ratio of students and seats in government medical colleges is really limited. All our students work so hard… denying them seats in these prestigious institutions despite their meritorious rank is unfair,” she said.

Dr Tanvi Modi, who secured the 405th rank in the state list, said she would have secured admission to a government medical college in Solapur or Aurangabad after the fourth round of admissions. “Now, with all these reservations, I am not too sure… I may have to purse a DNB course at a private institution rather than a MD course… this is unfair,” she said.

Gaurav Lodha, who graduated from the Solapur Government Medical College and secured the 54th rank in the state list, said, “We have been protesting for a long time but not even a corporator meets us or supports us”.

Another aspirant, Mehak Agarwal, was ranked 15th in the state merit list and secured admission for MD in radiodiagnosis at Grant Medical College. “All our admissions have been cancelled and we are sitting at home waiting for the government to tell us what to do. One obviously expects admission to a top-ranking institute after getting a good rank, so it is appalling when someone way below your rank gets that dream seat. I will be able to secure admission in the same college due to my rank but this reservation has affected a large number of other students,” she said.

Dr Avinash Chaudhari, a nephrologist who is supporting the agitation, told The Indian Express that students were upset and many of them had told him that they wanted to leave the country and pursue studies abroad. “It takes years of patience, hard work and dedication to study and get a meritorious seat in prestigious institutions. Why take it away from open category students,” said Dr Chaudhari.